Food plotting, Step 2: big words and the ‘Burn Down’

Keri ButtNow that you’ve got the results from your soil test back, what’s your next plan of action? Hopefully, your plan includes some spring cleaning — food plot style. A term that is becoming more common with plot planters is what’s known as, “burn down.” This basically refers to the use of a non-selective herbicide such as Roundup (glyphosate) to kill all existing or remaining vegetation prior to planting.

Of the plethora of herbicides available, only a handful has a big role in food plot management. Clethodim and Sethoxydim are the active ingredients found in herbicides used for killing grasses in legume crops such as clover, alfalfa and beans. Clethodim can commonly be found as Section, Select, or Arrow brand names. Sethoxydim can be found as Poast or Poast Plus.

For optimum weed control, Austin Delano, from Biologic, suggests to spray once after spring green-up to kill existing vegetation, wait a week and then run over with a disc or tiller over the plot to disturb the ground. Wait an additional week to 10 days for a second weed flush to carpet the plot and then spray with glyphosate before planting. Delano says that this often eliminates having to do any weed control after planting.

Do your research and read labels! There are several herbicides that are not kind to many cultivars used in the food plot world. Pre-emergent herbicides, which are put down before planting a crop, actually prevent weed seeds from ever germinating. Pre-emergents are often used in the row crop world in front of a soybean or corn planting.
The problem is that many of pre-emerges have a long residual effect in the soil and may prevent commonly used seeds for plots such as brassicas, cereal grains and clover, from ever germinating.

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